That Mr. Potato Head picture….. It was before I knew he was autistic. It was before I knew how serious it all was, how it would impact everything…I didn’t know what I was doing. I knew there was something happening to him, to us. I didn’t know what. I thought it co…uld be autism. But, so many doctor’s told me it wasn’t. “Absolutely not,” they’d say. They were saying absolutely not until three months before he was officially diagnosed.
A Couple of Lessons I’ve Learned Along the Way:
1. Doctors, are humans, and while they spend years in medical school and practicing, they don’t know everything. Follow your gut. Trust your instincts. Learn the difference between recommendations, and THIS is what we have to do.
2. Interventions are meant to be tailored. Don’t buy into the yay and nay. Research and try things for yourself.
3. Learn to laugh. You’re going to need a sense of humor.
4. Dark times will come. I haven’t met a parent yet who hasn’t experienced it. Some of us will have darker times than others. Lot’s of things are involved in that. Each person’s experiences are different, and so are their responses.
5. It will never be perfect. It won’t be. Your best has to be good enough. And, some days? Your best will feel like your worst. What do I mean? Some days it may be all you can do to put one foot in front of the other. But, when you make it to the end of that day, know you took every step. You may not have been running like days before, but you did your best.
6. Find something for yourself. Something that brings you joy…that helps refocus your spirit.
7. Don’t get lost in the future. Seriously? How many times do things turn out the way you imagine? Yet, it’s so easy to become fixated on the unknown, planning for situations, and worst case scenarios.
8. Take breaks from autism. Even though you can’t take breaks from your child, take breaks from the research, the hours of online madness. Take time to be where you are, where they are, and then when you’re energy is back– dive back in.
9. Find one friend you can spill everything too– the good, the bad, and the ugly. If you can’t find a friend– start a blog. (BA ha ha ha ha)
10. Breathe– deep, cleansing breathes, and keep pushing.